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Elderly sheep on special diet – update

It’s been about six weeks since my last blog entry about the wonders of alfalfa and sugar-beet for elderly sheep.

This winter just gone, we’ve been keeping a special eye on three of our more elderly flock members; Sparkle and Scarlett and Shelby.  Sparkle and Scarlett are missing some front teeth, and Shelby has arthritis and can’t get around as easily as she used to.

winter at the hay bar

Winter can be tough, especially for older sheep who don’t have the reserves they once had.

sheep sheltering from snow storm
sheep sheltering from snow storm

We readily admit to spoiling our sheep a little bit, we give them access to their favourite shed to get out of the elements.  This is great for the sheep, but not so great for me as I have to muck it out every day.  But I digress, a happy sheep is a happy me.  As well as their shed, they also have ad-lib access to meadow hay and a cheeky sprinkling of ewe nuts every morning.  Despite this, as we came out of winter  this year Sparkle, Scarlett and Shelby were all looking a bit too thin for our liking.

Rocket is my middle name so I immediately researched nutritional supplements for elderly sheep with poor teeth and arthritis, preferably slow-release and non-molassed.  This is our first experience with keeping OAP sheep so it’s unchartered territory for us.

tucking into their buckets

While I found lots of information on nutritional supplements for elderly horses and ponies, I couldn’t find much at all about elderly sheep.  Several cups of tea later I at last found something which looked promising; pelleted meadow grass and pelleted alfalfa with sugar beet.

Sparkle on right looking tubbier

Fast forward a few weeks and the three ladies are doing marvellously on their special supplement.  We are so pleased, particularly with Sparkle as she had lost the most condition out of the three.  Now she looks almost back to her old rolly poly self.  We’re also very happy that the two ladies with missing incisors are still able to graze grass so this means the pelleted feed is still just a supplement rather than a main meal, at least for the moment.  Well done Sparkle, Scarlett and Shelby!